Mung Dal

This was simple, everyday, comfort food for me growing up. The mung beans are hearty, yet the fresh curry leaves and lemon add a touch of brightness.

1 cup whole green mung beans
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
5 to 6 fresh curry leaves
1/2 thin green chili sliced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon
chopped fresh cilantro

Place the mung beans in a pressure cooker and cover with 2 cups of water; cook for 3 whistles and then turn off. (Note: if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can soak the mung beans overnight and then cook in 2 cups of water in a pot until the mung beans are soft and tender but not complete dissolved.)

After the mung beans have been completely cooked, in a separate pot, heat the oil.

Be careful with the next few steps as you may experience quite a bit of splatter! To the warmed oil add a pinch of asafoetida. Next, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and optional green chilies.

Once the mustard seeds begin to sizzle and pop, add the remaining spices. Cook briefly, just until you can begin to smell the spices, being careful not to burn them.

Add the cooked mung beans, salt, and lemon juice. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until all the flavors have blended nicely, adding more water as needed. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy over steaming basmati rice or just on its own.